- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Johnny Trevane tried to take in all of William Despetit's image while still keeping his father and mother and little brother in sight. The holodigital statue was magnificent. It was huge, bigger than any of the others he had ever seen, the largest of any in the known worlds. It was splendid; a grand awe-inspiring sight that almost took his breath away, despite having been told in advance how marvelous it was. The enlarged reproduction of William Despetit stood with one leg slightly forward, looking into the far distance with his lips curved into a hint of a smile, as if satisfied with the universe and mankind's place in it. One arm hung naturally and gracefully at his side. The other was raised, bent at the elbow in order to support an opened book.
Johnny remembered to breathe again. He puffed his cheeks as he blew out stale air and adjusted his head band again so the audio stayed in the background. It was getting too small for him, he thought, or maybe he just needed a haircut. He scanned Mister Despetit's likeness one more time then…Dad! Mom! Where were they? Where was Kevin, the brat? He looked frantically into the throng walking past him from the interior of the spaceport and on out into the covered concourse where slideways carried them along, splitting into narrower ways that branched and branched again. How could they have gotten so far ahead of him so quickly? Or were they? It was hard to tell with so many taller adults around. He ran forward the few steps to where the slideway split then stopped. Which way? What if he took the slideway to the right and they had gone left? He felt the first hint of panic intruding into hismind.
"Young man, could I help you? You look as though you might have misplaced your family."
Johnny glanced up at the plain, honest face of the stranger. Age lines managed to fit comfortably with his graying hair, giving him a grandfatherly appearance, though with a hint of sadness about him. But it was sort of nice, Johnny thought, the man trying to make a joke of him being lost. Dad probably wouldn't think it was funny, though. Nor Mom either, and the brat would laugh and laugh. "Yes, sir, I guess I hid them a little too well."
"I'm Fred McIntyre. Come on, let's go over to the customer service counter and see what they can do for you. What's your name, by the way, so they'll know who the lost people are?"
"Johnny Trevane, sir," he answered as he followed his new friend along to the slidewalk. He gave no thought at all to the possibility that a stranger in a strange city on a strange planet might do him harm. Things like that were mostly unheard of anywhere outside history books. Which reminded him; he wanted another book on the North American continent, where they would be living for the next year. The first one hadn't had much depth; it was more for pre-schoolers than primary citizens, he thought.
The service counter was located only a few seconds along the 'way, on a branch ending in a cul-de-sac. "Hello," Mr. McIntyre said to the young lady, an intern by the look of her white blouse and dark blue skirt. "There should be an inquiry shortly concerning some lost parents by the name of Trevane. Would you mind letting us know when they turn up?"
"Certainly sir. Where will you be?"
"We're going to sit over on the benches with the other folks that're waiting for lost companions." He produced a data cube and slid it across the counter. The young lady took it for a moment and fitted it into the reader. Her eyes widened slightly as she handed it back to Mr. McIntyre. He smiled genially at her. "Would it be possible to have some coffee while we're waiting?"
"Certainly sir. Just have a seat and the bench will take care of you. There's reading material as well, if you like."
"Thanks. You're very helpful."
The girl blushed and nodded.
Copyright © 2007 Darrell Bain.
Posted August 21, 2013
Posted June 12, 2011
No text was provided for this review.